Whenever I take on a new client, the first thing I do is take a look at the features in Google Analytics they have enabled for their website. My go-to stats in Google Analytics are related to search query, demographics, and site search. But 99 percent of the time, I’m shocked to find that they don’t have these important Google Analytics features enabled. Not having these features enabled means they are missing out on lots of valuable data that Google Analytics can provide.
Here are the 3 features I enable right away in Google Analytics to ensure that I get all of the data:
Feature 1: Connect Search Console to Google Analytics (Or what used to be the “Set Up Webmaster’s Tools” button)
This is the number one feature I enable in Google Analytics: Search Console integration. It used to be called “Set Up Webmaster’s Tools”. Without this, you don’t get all the goodies under the Acquisition>Search Console section of analytics data such as landing pages, countries, devices, and queries. The latter is what I’m most interested in, as it shows you the keywords that people are using to find your site; you’ll see what keywords you are ranking for, your impressions, the average click through rate, and what position each query ranks at on Google. This is amazing information, straight from the horse’s mouth!
Here’s how you enable Search Console integration:
First, you can confirm that Search Console isn’t already integrated with your Google Analytics account. Go to Acquisition>Search Console>Queries. You’ll know Search Console is not integrated already because it will tell you that this report requires Search Console integration to be enabled.
Next go to Admin, and under Property, click All Products. The Google Analytics Product Linking page will appear.
The Search Console product is buried at the bottom of the Google Analytics Product Linking list. Scroll all the way down, and you should see Search Console. Click Link Search Console.
In the Search Console Settings page, you should have the option to Edit. Click Edit. If you don’t see the option to edit, it means you don’t have administrative rights in Search Console for this property.
Once you click Edit, another browser window will open showing all of the web properties you have access to on Search Console. Select the search console site you want to link your Google Analytics account to, then click Save.
After saving, you will be returned to the Google Analytics admin screen, and under Google Analytics Product Linking (Linked Products), Search Console will appear showing that it is actively linked and receiving data.
That’s it! Your site’s search console is now linked with Google Analytics. All of the awesome data will start flowing into the Acquisition>Search Console section. The next feature you want to enable on Google Analytics is the Demographics and Interests Reports.
Feature 2: Enable Demographics and Interest Reports in Google Analytics
By enabling Demographics and Interest Reports, you’ll be able to get an idea of their age, gender, and interests (whether they are in-market or affinity audiences). Knowing the age groups that visit your site most and their gender helps you tailor your website and marketing message better. Interests are especially useful to companies who want to get into pay-per-click because the data helps them reach people based on their specific interests.
Here’s how you enable Demographics and Interests Reports:
In Google Analytics, go to Audience>Demographics>Overview. It will introduce what Demographics and Interest Reports do, and provide a blue Enable button. Click Enable.
A congratulations page appears to confirm you’ve enabled the Demographics and Interest Reports feature.
You’re all set! It will take a while for data to start trickling in. I usually check next day. Now you’re ready to enable the last feature: Site Search.
Feature 3: Enable Site Search in Google Analytics
You will need a search bar on your website in order to enable this (and if you don’t have one, you should install one immediately!). A search bar on your website not only helps visitors find what they are looking for faster–it also provides a ton of user intent insight to help make your website convert better (getting you a higher ROI). Imagine knowing every word a visitor types in your website’s search bar; that’s like having the privilege of being inside their head. The only thing you need to do after that to boost your business is to connect the dots and give your visitors what they are searching for!
Here’s how you enable Site Search:
In Google Analytics, click Admin, look under View, and click View Settings.
In the View Settings page, scroll down to find Site Search Settings. Click Site Search Tracking to ON. Once you turn Site Search Tracking on, the Query Parameter field will appear.
To find your Search Query Parameter, you will need to go to your own website and pretend you are searching something in your site’s search bar. Here’s an example from this site.
On the search result page, look at the URL in your browser. You are look for the parameter that follows /?. For the example of this site, the search query parameter is the letter “s“. S as the parameter is pretty common. But yours may be different.
Return to the Google Analytics and enter your parameter into the Search Query Parameter field, then click Save.
Site Search is now setup! Wait a day or so, and you will start seeing site search terms appear in Google Analytics, under the Behaviour>Site Search area.
I hope learning to set up these 3 key features in Google Analytics will help you collect more visitor data and help boost your business’ ROI! Thanks for reading.